Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Makes a Monster? Sneak Peek at Upcoming Book

Here's a sneak peek at the upcoming DK Adventures book: What Makes A Monster? by Adam Bray...

Coming April 21, 2014!

These books are digest-sized and full of movie images from across the Star Wars saga. At 128 pages, there is plenty to read in each of them for confident young readers. This one is focusing on the bigger and scarier creatures of Star Wars? Count me in!

Note: DK Adventures are different than the DK Readers series, which are much shorter and labelled according to reading level. DK Adventures are a new series with titles including Jedi Battles and Sith Wars

Monday, January 20, 2014

Disney Books Releasing New Star Wars Classics for Young Readers

Um, NOT Star Wars: These are the X-Men
Two new pre-order pages have appeared on for Disney "World of Reading" books. This is a series very similar to the popular DK Readers books, labelled by reading level for learning stages. Both upcoming books are priced at $3.99 (US), paperback and scheduled for September 16, 2014 release.

A recent DK Reader
It is hard to imagine DK will continue publishing such similar Star Wars titles after that, but DK does have at least two Star Wars Rebels books coming out around then, though not in the DK Readers series.

Both these new World of Reading books will feature storylines from the original trilogy Star Wars films, but unlike the DK series, seem to be more fictionalized than DK's non-fiction approach to the fictitious Star Wars universe.

Here are the descriptions:

World of Reading Star Wars Escape From Darth Vader: Level 1 (Star Wars Classic Reader)
C-3PO and R2D2 must keep Darth Vader from discovering the Rebels' secret plans! This fully-illustrated level 1 reader retells the classic scenes from A New Hope where the droids crash land on the desert planet of Tatooine and meet a young farmer named Luke.

World of Reading Star Wars Use The Force! Level 2
Before Luke can be a Jedi, he needs to learn from Yoda! This fully-illustrated level 2 reader retells the classic scenes from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke learns to use the force for the very first time/

No covers are available yet for either book.

One interesting part: it's not mentioned for the second book but the first title comes with an added description of "Star Wars Classic Reader". Longtime Star Wars comic and book readers are familiar with the term "Classic Star Wars" on covers of reprinted books but not the wording "Star Wars Classic", and certainly not on a newly published title. Will Disney Publishing be using this term more often? We shall see.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Star Wars Kidscast Episode 5: How To Train Your Youngling

We're back! After a little break from podcasting, Star Wars Kidscast is back with a slightly shorter but special new episode!

In this episode Star Wars Kidscast looks at learning materials from a galaxy far, far away. From ABC's to science, Star Wars educational books have been around almost as long as Star Wars itself. In this special episode we look at current and past titles, as well as listen to a vintage Star Wars story from 1984: Adventures in Colors and Shapes, starring C-3P0, R2-D2, Han Solo & Luke Skywalker! Special thanks to 

Learning resources: Star Wars In the Classroom 
Abdo Publishing Star Wars Literacy page: Star Wars preschool pack:
Download this episode (right click and save)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Very Vader Valentine's Day: The Cute Side of the Force

" might say that we are encouraged to love." - Anakin Skywalker


Dark Lord of the Sweethearts?
Star Wars-themed valentine cards have been around for years and now Scholastic has a book full of them! On Valentine's Day you can show your love or friendship AND your love of Star Wars with Star Wars: A Very Vader Valentine's Day.

Whether you give out friendly cards or you're sneaking into Jabba's palace in disguise to be with your sweetheart, February 14th is better with Star Wars in it! Star Wars suits Valentine's Day surprisingly well with various love stories and many examples of true friendship. It's the friendship and niceness part celebrated mostly in A Very Vader Valentine's Day from Trey King and Katie Cook.

The book consists mainly of sheets with 36 removable valentine cards but if you give all of those away, there's still fun stuff left for you. The first section has a few pages of word puzzles, comics, drawing tips and many Star Wars jokes. You can even help Boba Fett find love...sort of. Katie Cook's extremely cute artwork has an adorably distinct look - and the text has a silly, pun-oriented sense of humor thanks to Trey King. Compared to the boxed valentine card sets available this book is a little more expensive but comes with quite a few bonus activities.

My only complaint about the book is the title which is a bit misleading. A Very Vader Valentine's Day is no more focused on Darth Vader than any other character, and wouldn't a VERY Vader Valentine's Day actually be pretty terrifying? Somebody would get force-choked, that's for sure.

Small complaint indeed because if you like your Star Wars on the CUTE side of the Force, check out this activity book. Spread the love this Valentine's Day...Star Wars love, that is! : )

For an interview with Star Wars A Very Vader Valentine's Day illustrator Katie Cook, have a listen to Star Wars Kidscast Episode 6!

As mentioned at the beginning, Star Wars valentine goodies have been around for a while:

Old-School Star Wars valentine cards from the 1980's
Pretty scary way to say I Love You!

Canadian valentines that came with lollipop hearts!

Clone Wars valentines too!
For a more detailed look at Star Wars valentine items, visit this link. Happy Valentine's Day!
-Chris @SWKidscast

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Star Wars Kidscast visits TechnoRetro Dads podcast!

Even Yoda has a hard time controlling this amount of awesome!
If you were a kid in the 70's & 80's, or if that describes YOUR dad, you'll likely enjoy listening to the TechnoRetroDads podcast!

On the latest episode I learned a lot about alternate strategies for Hungry, Hungry Hippos play, cattle auctions, oh and I was invited as a guest!

We talked about the LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles specials and Star Wars in general. Fun chatting with these guys and hope to do it again. Our daughter Toddler T joined in the conversation and you can hear her a few times : ) That's one way you know a podcast is family-friendly.

 Hear it all at:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Star Wars Magazines for Kids: Looking Back and Looking Ahead!

1998's Star Wars Kids #1 - Thanks!
There have been magazines geared for younger Star Wars fans for some time, from Star Wars Kids in the late 1990's to Titan Magazines' current Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine. Ever since The Clone Wars TV series suddenly stopped the future of that magazine has been uncertain yet it still remained a regular on newsstands.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine is full of games, puzzles, posters, exclusive comics and details about characters you may have missed in the show, but obviously focused only on The Clone Wars.

Recent issue of Clone Wars

Now it seems that Star Wars: The Clone Wars Magazine will also stop running because a brand-new title will soon appear from Titan for young fans, simply called Star Wars Magazine! This is not to be confused with Titan's fantastic Star Wars Insider Magazine, which is also appropriate for family readership but focused more on older fan interests.

Presumably a lot of the same talented people will be working on the new Star Wars Magazine from The Clone Wars (same publisher) but the focus will open up to include movie characters, the upcoming movies and presumably the new Star Wars Rebels TV show too!

We're very much looking forward to this new magazine. It apparently comes out on March 19, 2014. Here's a sneak peek at the cover, though it may look different by the time it comes out:

Star Wars Magazine #1 arrives Spring 2014!

From the publisher:
An all-new #1! The entire Star Wars galaxy comes together in a brand-new magazine from a galaxy far, far away! Featuring Clone Wars heroes rubbing shoulders with fan favorites from the movie universe - and an awesome mix of posters, puzzles, and comic strips - Star Wars Magazine is officially cooler than Hoth! Yoda be mad to miss it!

Thanks to our friends Johnamarie from & Mark from for passing the word on to Star Wars Kidscast!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thanks For An Amazing Start, 2013!

Star Wars Kidscast, both the podcast and the blog, just began in October of 2013 and a LOT is happened in only a few short months! The show is now downloadable on iTunes and Stitcher, it has Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts, and has caught the attention of a lot of people across the worldwide Star Wars fan community in that very short time. The feedback from parents, kids, other websites and podcasts has been fantastic. Positive feedback has come from folks from within Lucasfilm itself!

To the thousands of you who have checked out this blog, listened to the podcast or just retweeted a tweet or Liked us on facebook, I thank you for your support and encouragement. Star Wars Kidscast is a little unusual: trying to reach fan-kids and parents all at once is not a typical goal in fansites but it seems you all are helping get the word out. Thank you for a fantastic start, but that's just it - things are just getting started. Big things are coming for 2014 so stay in touch!

In the meantime, here's ten fun and/or interesting posts from the blog from 2013 that didn't get as much attention as others but I think you'd enjoy, so I'm giving them a 2nd chance below.

All the best for 2014 & May the Force Be With You,

Star Wars Fan Bullied for her "Boy" Shoes

Star Wars Underoos Commercial. Yep, a kids' underwear ad from TV! 

Kellogg's C-3PO's Cereal: A New Force at Breakfast

The Disney Destiny? Looking Back a Year Later

Horror Stories from Star Wars? Galaxy of Fear

Star Wars Lightsaber Commercial (Kenner, 1978)

Read, You Must: Boba Fett : The Fight to Survive

Making Reading Fun...the Star Wars way!

Celebrate UN Day of the Girl Child today!

Star Wars Kidscast Salutes MOvember!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Star Wars Rebels: Our Next Favourite TV Show? Probably!

5 years before Luke blew up the Death Star, young rebels unite!
At Star Wars Kidscast we're super-excited for the upcoming, all-new animated TV series Star Wars Rebels!

Hopefully the show will get a chance to shine on it's own merit and not be unfairly compared to The Clone Wars, which was as much for adult viewers as it was for kids, and at times clearly more for the grown-ups.

Even serious Star Wars fans aren't expected to know much about Star Wars Rebels yet - it won't be on until later this year - but like it or not Rebels will be first and foremost a family-friendly show. That may be stating the obvious for a show coming to Disney XD but many Star Wars fans seem to be expecting something mostly for adults.

"It’s different from Clone Wars, and it should be. I know some fans just see Rebels as an extension of Clone Wars, but it’s not. It’s an entirely different thing with a different feeling and a different vibe." Dave Filoni, Executive Producer, interview

Children's entertainment in the right hands can be smart, complex, fun, exciting and appealing to adults. Disney knows this better than anyone, even more so after years of working with Pixar, Studio Ghibli, The Muppets and Marvel Studios, and the creative team making Star Wars Rebels are certainly up to the task! Throughout it's 5-season run, many adult Star Wars fans unfortunately never gave The Clone Wars a chance because they thought it would be "too kiddie".  

Rebels may suffer from the opposite prejudice. As The Clone Wars was surprisingly intense and mature, Rebels may be light and fun in comparison, strongly suggested by the first teaser Disney aired:

The Clone Wars was a complicated show and had some very dark, even scary, episodes. Since many of the same creators are now working on Rebels, the easy conclusion would be that it will be similar in tone, but that doesn't mean it's accurate.

Star Wars Rebels' new villain: The Inquisitor!
Perhaps the tone will be similar to those Clone Wars episodes where Ahsoka teaches teenagers on Mandalore, or the Season 5 Younglings episodes. That's just fine with us but there is potential for backlash if the show doesn't live up to many adult fans' hopes.

With The Clone Wars you didn't know what to expect week-to-week. Sometimes the show was as heavy as The Empire Strikes Back, and sometimes it was C-3P0 bumbling around looking for fruit, Jar Jar juggling dinnerware or the antics of WAC-47 & Gascon. The intense episodes seemed to be balanced by some very silly ones. My feeling is that Star Wars Rebels will have a much more consistent overall tone of fun, adventure and action. Most importantly EVERY episode will be kid-friendly.

The main Star Wars Rebels ship The Ghost in action.
Here's why:
1) It's Disney!
Star Wars Rebels will premiere on the Disney Channel then move to Disney XD. Disney isn't afraid to occasionally be dark, but look at all the other shows on these channels. A serious, edgy, dramatic sci-fi series wouldn't really belong here.

2) All book tie-ins are kids' books (so far)
Where The Clone Wars had many tie-in books and comics for an adult audience as well as many titles aimed at children, so far all that is known about any tie-in books for Rebels are children's books. Scheduled for release in August 2014 are sticker books, a chapter book, two early readers, a junior novel and a Visual Guide. With the exception of two titles being from DK, all currently-announced books will be from Disney Book Group.

Coming soon from Hasbro!
3) Toy Announcement
Just this week released the first glimpse of any toy related to Rebels - the Hasbro 3 3/4" action figure of the Inquisitor. What's telling here is that the figure is not part of the collector-oriented "Black Series" (the super-poseable, super-detailed & super-expensive figures) but part of the more kid-oriented and reasonably-priced Saga Legends toy line.

Still not convinced? If you've been following the bits and pieces of Rebels released the past few months, it would seem like this is a very dark show focusing on the Empire and it's villains. However, have a look at what key people involved are saying and notice how often children are mentioned first as the primary audience:

"I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars." Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm Official Announcement

"Rebels is going to be the first point of entry for a new generation of Star Wars fans, and it will hopefully be a point of return for existing Star Wars fans." Simon Kinberg, Executive Producer

"We're very aware that for some people - kids in particular - this will be their first exposure to Star Wars and we take that responsibility very seriously. There's going to be a lot there for the fans to enjoy as well." Greg Weisman, Executive Producer Star Wars Insider #146

"The tone of the show is action/adventure, but with more elements of fun for the new generation of Star Wars fans and their parents!" Athena Portillo, Line Producer Star Wars Insider #146

Again this is all welcome news here! The purpose of this article is not to squash anyone's enthusiasm or anticipation of Star Wars Rebels, but to steer expectations closer to what it may really be like and to avoid disappointment over what looks to be a fantastic, groundbreaking show!

Further reading: We'll of course have plenty of Rebels news here, and as always visit frequently for the latest updates. Many other fansites have pages dedicated to covering Star Wars Rebels news:
Lightsaber Rattling

- Chris @SWKidscast

Agree? Disagree? Comment below! 

Recent Posts